The four ladies in question were sisters Jess and Emily and little girls Lucy 5, and Lottie 6 – Jess’ 2 daughters. A day climbing in the Wye Valley was planned, but the weather – a recurring problem this summer – thought otherwise.
They met at Symonds Yat in the pouring rain, excited and keen to have an adventure. The weather didn’t seem to put anyone off. The rain made the approach treacherous so Ali showed Jess and Em how to set up an abseil above the crag; Em abseiled down and Jess lowered the girls, then abseiled down after them ensuring her own safety by using a prussik. Everyone was seriously muddy in record time.
Ali set up a couple of climbs, and by keeping climbing shoes clean and hands dry, everyone succeeded in reaching the top. Ali had instructed Jess and Em before so expected them to do well and they didn’t disappoint, but Lucy and Lottie were amazing, nothing seemed to faze them and they wouldn’t give up if things got tricky – and it was extremely slippy.
After lunch Ali decided on a change of pace and constructed a Via Ferrata that traversed the cliff and then plumetted to the footpath below. The route was broken into sections by running belays attached to trees, cams and roots, with knotted handholds at the steeper sections. Each participant was equipped with a cows tail attached to their belay loops with a screw gate karabiner attached to each end. The idea is to attach yourself to the rope with both karabiners and when a running belay is reached you unclip one karabiner and reclip it on the other side, and then do the same with the second karabiner. That way you are securely attached at all times and if you slip at any time you are still attached by at least one karabiner.
Lucy and Lottie didn’t need showing twice, and insisted in doing everything themselves. In fact they didn’t need any help at all, even on the steepest ground and thought it the most exciting thing they’d ever done. They were very disappointed when it was over.
Lottie and Lucy took turns leading everyone back to the car park; up cliffs using tree rooots as handholds, through slippery caves and the final steep slope to a climb over the fence – which was bigger than they were!!!
The day finished with a leisurely stroll up to the Peregrine viewpoint with stunning views of the Wye Valley.
‘We had a great day. The girls have been asking when we can go climbing next!!’ Jess Smith